Bruce Weber enjoyed trip to NBA Draft

Bruce Weber has coached several players who have been selected in the NBA Draft, but he experienced the event up close for the first time on Thursday.

Former Illinois center Meyers Leonard (pictured to the left with David Stern) invited the new Kansas State coach to the draft, and sat with him and four other close friends and relatives in the “Green Room” until the Portland Trail Blazers took him with the No. 11 pick.

Sharing the joy of becoming a lottery pick with a former player was a thrill.

“I was obviously excited for our player and his family,” Weber said. “As a coach, it’s a nice moment. It’s a proud moment. His story makes it even better. He was a kid who grew very late, and came from a small town. He was not a highly touted player, now he is a lottery pick. You hope you had something to do with that in his development as a player and a person.”

It was fun to be in the middle of all the action, too.
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A few minutes with … Chester Frazier

Chester Frazier just joined the Kansas State basketball program as an assistant coach, but he feels like he has been working with the Wildcats for several months.

That’s not surprising considering he did a big favor for Bruce Weber days before he was hired as head coach.

Weber was considering taking the job, but wanted to make sure Rodney McGruder was returning for his senior season before he did. McGruder grew up in Washington DC, and Frazier (a former point guard for Weber at Illinois) grew up in nearby Baltimore. So Weber called Frazier, who was playing professional basketball in Germany at the time, to ask if he could get McGruder on the phone and find out if he was committed to K-State after the departure of Frank Martin. All while not saying anything about Weber’s interest in becoming the next coach.

Not the easiest of tasks, considering Weber’s request came at 3 in the morning (German time) and Frazier had never met McGruder. But Frazier delivered.

“My phone rang and it was Coach Weber,” Frazier said. “He said, ‘Chester, you have to call Rodney.’ All right what’s going on? ‘Well, I might get the Kansas State job and I need you to see what’s going on. He’s their best player.’”

Frazier took a moment to wake up and then called a friend associated with DC Assault, McGruder’s former AAU basketball team. He obtained McGruder’s cell phone number and had him on the phone about 30 minutes later.

McGruder was more than happy to talk.

“It wasn’t really weird,” McGruder said. “One of my good friends is friends with Chester. He said Chester was going to give me a call. I had seen him play before when he was at Illinois. I was cool with it. I was sitting on my couch watching TV. He was just asking me about my situation. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll stick around. I love K-State.’”

The rest, as they say, is history. Weber became K-State’s head coach a few days later, and he was so impressed by Frazier’s connections (and overall basketball knowledge) that he figured he would be a good recruiter that he offered him a position on his staff.

Frazier moved to Manhattan earlier this week and is excited to get started. He was also nice enough to share a few of his thoughts on his new gig.

What attracted you to this job?

Being an assistant at this level was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. You know, when I was in Germany playing Coach and I kind of talked about it. But as time went on we got more serious about it.
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